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Source: Dan Kuester, 785-532-6341,
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Cutline: Front row, from left: Sarah Brink, Eduardo Alvarado and Erin Closterman. Back row, from left: Dan Kuester and Evan Talbott.
News release prepared by: Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, 785-532-1543,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


MANHATTAN -- Several economics students from Kansas State University recently got the opportunity to share their research on key economic issues before some noted economists.

The students were invited to present at the annual Economics Scholars Program, hosted by Austin College and the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, April 1, in Dallas. Forty-two papers were presented at the event, and the keynote address was delivered by Jim Dolmas, a senior economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.

Through the Economics Scholars Program, students get to present their independent research to their peers, faculty members and some economists from the Dallas Fed. Funds for the students' travel were awarded by the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation. To qualify for the travel funds, students' papers had to be approved by K-State economics faculty.

K-State students presenting at the program included:

Sarah Brink, senior in economics, Manhattan, "Critique of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009"; Eduardo Alvarado, senior in economics and philosophy, Overland Park, "Cigarette Taxes and Cross Border Effects: An analysis of Retail Data by County"; and Erin Closterman, senior in economics, Overland Park, "The Fiscal Crisis Facing State and Local Governments."

Tracy Turner, associate professor of economics, advised Alvarado; both Closterman and Brink's papers were based on senior seminar work in economics with Lloyd Thomas, professor of economics.

In addition to the student presentations, Alvarado, Brink and Evan Talbott, senior in economics, Marquette, served as discussants at the event, reading and critically evaluating other undergraduate research. Closterman also was chair for the Economics of Entertainment session of the program.

Daniel Kuester, director of undergraduate studies for the economics department, accompanied the four economics majors on the trip.

"I can't say enough about what a first-class event this was. Our students did an excellent job of presenting and discussing papers, and their sessions were extremely well attended," Kuester said. "At Ed's talk, there were no empty seats. His findings that a change in the Kansas cigarette tax had larger impacts on sales in Johnson County than Douglas County has meaningful policy implications. Erin's discussion on the crisis facing many different states as federal funding is expiring is also very topical. Both Ed and Erin were poised and well prepared for the questions they received. I was extremely proud of them. Sarah's poster session appeared to be the most well attended of the afternoon as well.

"I'm extremely grateful to the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation for making this opportunity possible for these deserving students," Kuester said.